Lamb Stuffed Baby Eggplant

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Lamb Stuffed Baby Eggplant
Serves 4
Eggplant is considered a fruit, but botanically it’s actually a berry. Related to the potato and tomato, it’s a member of the enigmatic nightshade family. The name eggplant in the United States, Australia and Canada developed from the fact that the fruits of some 18th-century European cultivars were yellow or white and resembled goose or hen’s eggs. A baby eggplant is simply a genetically smaller version of its larger cousin with the same shiny, purple-black skin and a delicate tender flesh. Typically, it’s a bit sweeter/less bitter and with smaller & fewer seeds. Baby eggplants are more often chosen for stuffing as their size lends itself to a nice, single portion presentation. The recipe below is a prime example.
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  1. 4 Baby Eggplant
  2. 3/4 lb. Ground Lamb
  3. 2 Tbsp. Salvaggio's Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  4. 1 medium Sweet Onion, chopped
  5. 1 Tbsp. Garlic, fresh, minced
  6. 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  7. 1/2 cup Roma Tomato, seeded, chopped
  8. 1 1/2 cup Cooked Rice
  9. 1 tsp. Oregano, dry, crushed
  10. 1/2 lb. Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella (4 - 2 oz. slices)
  11. 1/4 cup Romano Cheese, grated or shredded
  12. 1 cup Salvaggio's Vodka Sauce
  1. Lay eggplant on a flat side and slice a ½ inch piece off the top. With a small scoop, hollow out the eggplant body leaving a ½" wall of flesh.
  2. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil and sauté onion and garlic one minute.
  3. Add red bell pepper and sauté one minute.
  4. Add lamb and sauté to brown.
  5. Remove ground lamb mixture to a medium size bowl and add Roma tomato, cooked rice & oregano. Stir to combine and season with salt & pepper to taste.
  6. Stuff lamb/rice mixture into hollowed out baby eggplant until full.
  7. Place all four stuffed eggplant in a shallow, oven proof dish. Top each stuffed eggplant with a 2 ounce slice of buffalo mozzarella, then grated Romano cheese.
  8. Place the eggplants in a 350° F oven and bake approximately 30 minutes.
  9. Heat vodka sauce to a simmer and serve over baked baby eggplants.
Nino Salvaggio